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Nevada County Quorum Court Discusses Logging Ordinance, Jail Budget and More at Monthly Meeting

The Nevada County Quorum Court met Tuesday, August 11 for their monthly regular meeting to discuss matters on the agenda. The meeting was called to order by County Judge Mark Glass and began with invocation followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The court reviewed the minutes and financials from their last meeting and motioned to approve them. 

Haley Rice was introduced at the meeting as the new 4-H Program Assistant. She shared that she is originally from Houston, TX but has family in Nevada County. She obtained a bachelors degree from Texas A&M and was the 4-H coordinator in Hempstead County prior to accepting the position in Nevada County. 

Prescott/Nevada County Chamber of Commerce Director Jamie Hillery was present at the meeting to share that things are going better for businesses but they still have not been able to host select ribbon cuttings due to COVID-19 risks. Hillery shared there will be weekly newsletters sent out to keep everyone in the community updated with “a lot more information that the community may not be receiving.” She stated that the Chamber is moving forward with the Garage Sale on Hwy 67 hosted by Julie Oliver, along with the Fall Festival and Trade Days in Downtown Prescott. 

The court motioned to declare a vacancy at midnight on October 1, 2020 in the position of County Treasurer. Last month, it was discussed that Susie Key will be resigning from the Treasurer’s position and the suggestion was made to appoint Lisa Lowe for the remainder of Key-a term. The court voted to appoint Lowe to the position on Tuesday.

Judge Glass asked for $45,000 to purchase a replacement dump truck due to one being totaled. The county received $12,500 for the totaled truck, a 2013 Mack with around 200,000 miles on it. The court approved his request for $45,000 to purchase the truck, with the agreement that if he could get it for less than the amount granted, the remaining funds will not be used. 

Assistant Deputy Prosecutor Ben Hale with the 8th North Task Force, spoke on the matter of the logging ordinance. The logging ordinance will require a $5 processing fee for a logging permit for loggers doing work in the county. Hale shared that the main goal of the ordinance is to insure that loggers take care of the land they’re working on. Better communication would take place, notifying the NCSD when a logging company gets their permits. If they fail to do so, they will receive a $500 fine or, possible 6 month jail time, not to punish them, but to make sure they don’t tear up the land. Loggers who fail to repair the roads after their work is done, could have their permits revoked and denied. The permits cover a 90 day period but Hale shared that specifics could be changed. The Nevada County Judge will have 2 days to deny or grant the permit to the the company after applying. Glass shared that he agreed with the ordinance, but would rather do away with the processing fee. The court tabled the issue until their next meeting to allow time for corrections to be made. 

Oliver shared information on new business, first mentioning the Laneburg Fire Department. They received a grant last year, and will soon start pouring the part of concrete for their building that the county is financially responsible for. The amount is $3,607.51 and she stated the court needed to appropriate the money to do so. The court approved the appropriation of the funds. 

Eric Fatheree with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department stood to share information on the jail and inmates. He said that the jail has carefully increased their number of inmates and are aware of the risk of inmates receiving COVID-19. New inmates are quarantined for 14 days before being placed with other inmates to insure no risk of spreading the coronavirus. He shared that the issue at hand is there are currently only 3 cells for holding inmates who need to be quarantined and there are 48 inmates in the jail at this time with revenue being at a monthly decline of $24,000. Current employees are working overtime due to the shortage having 4 less employees on hand at. He shared the cost of operating the jail is $71,000 a month, but the budget will better next month due to the county being owed $20,000 not yet received from the state. Oliver mentioned the court might possibly need to ask for another 1/4 cent sales tax increase to propely operate the jail in the near future. Fatheree mentioned a long term resolution would be adding more beds to the facility and brought up consideration of expansion. 

Fatheree shared that the reparation or replacement of the seating in the courtroom needs to be put at the top of the priority list being that the seats are aged and are a risk to people and the courthouse. Glass shared that they have looked into getting new seating in the past and have been keeping it as an important issue to be resolved soon.

The meeting was motion to adjourn and they will reconvene next month for their regular meeting. 

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